How to earn more than you spend on reading

Are you really reading?

You may have found yourself in a similar position to this before. You have a book you’ll be quizzing about in your next college literature class, only your friends convinced you to go to the big frat party the night before. Or maybe you fell asleep reading it.

The next morning, with a foggy mind and a hangover, you flip through James Joyce’s book. Ulises in an hour, with Fruit Loops and strong coffee. The book reads like an elaborate joke written for hungover college students.

Still, maybe you’ll remember a detail or two and get a couple of points you otherwise wouldn’t have received on the quiz. You won something. Little bit.

I confess that I only have an hour to prepare to teach. The old man and the sea of Hemingway, which he had somehow yet to read, to a cheery group of 60 college students. Fortunately, it is short.

But suppose your boss throws you a 50-page white paper that you need to report on in 20 minutes.

Regardless of the circumstances, you do a lot of different types of reading from emails to biographies, and your brain adapts to the needs of the situation (or not). The more skilled you are as a reader and writer, the easier this adaptation becomes.

read with purpose

HAS reading spectrum there are, from the challenging to the simple, and I’ll mention just a few here to give you a bit of context before I share a few tricks to tailor your reading style. You change your reading depending on your purpose and how much time you have:

  • Critical: the serious, methodical and evaluative. Its objective is to retain, learn, dialogue, evaluate.
  • I laughed: the studious, attentive and focused. He intends to learn, but not necessarily evaluate or evaluate.
  • Strategic: the fast, planned and determined. This is the type I will describe in more detail. You don’t actually read the entire article, which makes it different from the next guy.
  • Speed: the super fast and systematic. You can take courses that teach you how to do this in different ways with success.

Just to make sure I’m not leading you down the crazy path, check out this quote and who said it:

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative activities. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thought.

Albert Einstein

So my goal here is to provide you with tools that allow you to adjust your reading speed depending on the circumstances.

strategic reading

You can strategically read at various paces depending on how much time you have. This is the best quality: you can adapt on the fly. Here are the steps:

  1. Keep in mind how old you are and how long the piece is. This lets you know how to pace yourself as you go through the process. You may even decide that you need to skip some steps.
  2. Look at the title and quickly decide what you think the writing is about. You can spend more or less time with this depending on your limitations. Guess what you think the article will do given how long it is and what you think the title means.
  3. Quickly scan the first paragraph for a thesis statement. Thesis statements capture the entire document in one sentence. Most writers use them and they give you a method to start categorizing information. If it is a hard copy, you can underline it. If you can, take a moment to really process and remember the meaning of the thesis.
  4. Flip to the end and carefully read the final paragraph. This should start to help you start to draw concepts together and make sense of them.
  5. Go back to the beginning and read all the headings (if the script has them). Again, this provides information to help you categorize. Also, look at all the pictures. and read the subtitlesas authors often include key information graphically.
  6. Go back to the beginning and read the first and last sentences of each paragraph. This will almost guarantee that you get to the topic sentence, which will provide the gist of the article’s content.
  7. Take a minute to go over the entire document in your mind. If you have time, write a summary sentence in your own words that captures the most important ideas.

One of the most important concepts to remember is that these steps are flexible. If you’re relatively short on time, move through them quickly.

So let’s say you only have 15 minutes for a 20-page job. Try to do 1-6 quickly. Maybe there’s no time for that, try 1-3 or just 1 and 6 (if you’re short on time, just read the first sentence of each paragraph instead of the first and last).

I hope these tips help you. Get from your reading the information you really need.. They saved me in college and I think you’ll be surprised how useful they are.

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